If you’re of an entrepreneurial spirit, you find that you can manage millions upon millions of things at once, including a full-time job and multiple side projects. I absolutely love my job, so for me, i gain valuable experience while working as well that can be applied to other projects. I learn a lot here, so it kind of fosters a certain part of my entrepreneurial spirits. The owners of my company are awesome and encourage innovative and creative thinking when it comes to projects, social campaigns, etc. In that way, I am lucky.
One thing I find hard about working a 9-5 and having my mind be in 80 different places at once, is that sometimes your job, in and out of the office, is an all day job. I leave the office, only to find I have more things to worry about on the personal projects end… and sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming. I wouldn’t have it any other way though, because to me, building my personal brand is one of the most important things you can do in your lifetime.
I also tend to be more creative on nights and weekends, mostly because I’m in work mode during the day. This means I get some of my best ideas when I’m supposed to be having time off.
Sometimes this is a problem.
Here are some tips I’ve found that help me manage my free-roaming spirit, so that I can give time to those that I love and proper attention to my career as well as my personal brand/business ideas.
- Get an “Action” product from Behance. This has SERIOUSLY been a life saver. I have a planner and a notebook, but the action books (I have the action journal) set everything up SO perfectly, so as not to disturb the creative process, yet keep you highly organized. Go get one.
- At work, make sure you’re doing work. There is nothing worse than mish-mashing personal projects on work time. For one, you’re not getting paid to do that, and two, you’re technically never giving yourself a break from your side projects. You need this break for clarity.
- If you have a bunch of stuff going on, and you MUST do something during your day job, I suggest bringing your laptop to work and going somewhere like Starbucks or Panera on your break. This way, you have a whole hour (minus drive time) to push around ideas, write something you need to, or contact whoever you need to.
- Label your personal freelance/portfolio/business emails into its own folder. Gmail is great for this, because when you filter out into a label, you can actually set it to archive into that folder automatically and skip your inbox. This way, you can see that you have a new email… but DON’T touch this until lunch time or when you get home. The only exception to this is if you KNOW you’re waiting for something extremely important.
- Get up early on weekends and get some work done before everyone else in your house (if you live with a significant other, roommates, or family). When things get hectic, it’s hard to concentrate.
- Set boundaries. You can’t work all weekend without burning yourself out. If you have a full weekend of work, make sure you schedule break times, or outings, where you can get some peace from work. Being a work-a-holic has its benefits, but you need to not want to kill yourself or else it crushes your entrepreneurial and creative energy.
- Stress relief is important. Make sure you have a hobby or some kind of escape. Having a mind that is constantly brewing ideas (on its own and without your consent) can be hard on your body. Even if you feel like you don’t physically need a break- mentally you do.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some of the best ideas can be fostered and improved by reaching out to someone close to you, or someone in your community, that can give you a fresh outlook. They can also take on some of the burdens of your projects (the administrative end, not the creative end) if you trust them and they are willing.
- If you’re a night owl, or you work better later in the day (like me) make sure you don’t stay up until 3 am. You’ll be a zombie the next day… and nobody likes a zombie. They are cranky and can’t achieve anything at work. You have to get a decent amount of sleep or else you’ll come off looking like a crazy, cracked-out mad scientist. Plus, you’ll be burned out and slowly your projects will feel it too.
I hope these give you something to think over. Being an entrepreneur is hard, and sometimes you may feel like you’re heading nowhere and that your projects will never end. Just remember- even though it’s a lot of work and you may feel all over the place…. everything will come to fruition and you’ll have a strong personal brand and/or business that you can push further than your mind could ever imagine.
So, keep going, and dream on! In the words of Herb Kelleher: “We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.’”